Make your own delicious ice cream

The rise of ice cream as a favorite treat in the U.S. began around the American Revolution, after Thomas Jefferson learned how to make it while he was an ambassador in France. When he returned home, he began sharing it with visitors.

Today, the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year, according to the International Dairy Food Association. The main ingredient in ice cream is milk, which comes from dairy cows.

Did you know?

  • When cows are giving milk, they drink a bathtub (30 gallons) of water and produce about 8 gallons of milk in one day!
  • Most dairies have machines that milk the cows.
  • Iowa is the 4th largest producing ice cream state.

Try making your own homemade ice cream with this easy and fun method. It’s delicious on a warm, sunny day (or any day)!

What you need:

  • 1 cup half and half (whole milk will work, too)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sandwich size zip bag
  • Gallon size zip bag
  • Ice
  • Rock salt
  • Measuring cups and spoons

1. Pour the half and half, sugar and vanilla in a sandwich size zip bag and seal.

1. Pour the half and half, sugar and vanilla in a sandwich size zip bag and seal.

2. Place the bag with the ingredients inside a gallon freezer bag.

2. Place the bag with the ingredients inside a gallon freezer bag.

3. Fill the larger bag with crushed ice around the smaller bag. Pour 1 cup of salt evenly over the ice and seal the bag. Then use a towel to protect your hands — the bag will be very cold — and shake it for 10 minutes. Open the outer bag and remove the inner bag with the ingredients. Rinse or wipe off the bag to be sure salt water doesn’t get in to the ice cream.

3. Fill the larger bag with crushed ice around the smaller bag. Pour 1 cup of salt evenly over the ice and seal the bag. Then use a towel to protect your hands — the bag will be very cold — and shake it for 10 minutes. Open the outer bag and remove the inner bag with the ingredients. Rinse or wipe off the bag to be sure salt water doesn’t get in to the ice cream.

4. Cut the top off the bag and spoon into cups or bowls. Serve plain or top with nuts, coconut or fruit. ENJOY!

4. Cut the top off of the bag and spoon into cups or bowls. Serve plain or top with nuts, coconut or fruit. ENJOY! (Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Linn County/For The Gazette)

After you’ve enjoyed your ice cream, reflect:

  • What did you like best about making the ice cream?
  • How does it compare to the texture and flavor other ice cream you’ve tasted before?
  • What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Could you add anything to yours to make it even more flavorful?
  • What is your favorite dairy product and why?

This activity was adapted from Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation — We All Scream for Ice Cream.

Explore 4-H Day Camps with ISU

To get your child involved in fun learning opportunities, check out the affordable, in-person 4-H Day Camps scheduled throughout Linn County from June to August.

Designed for students in grades kindergarten through sixth, each daylong camp costs $20, and financial assistance is available. Learn more at extension.iastate.edu/linn/content/4h-day-camps.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Linn County helps build a strong Iowa by engaging Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address current and emerging real-life challenges. The 4-H Youth Development program empowers youth to reach their full potential through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences. Linn County Extension Office website: extension.iastate.edu/linn.